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Author: Rob Stone

This account of the life and films of the Spanish-Basque filmmaker Julio Medem is the first book in English on the internationally renowned writer-director of Vacas, La ardilla roja (Red Squirrel), Tierra, Los amantes del círculo polar (Lovers of the Arctic Circle), Lucía y el sexo (Sex and Lucía), La pelota vasca: la piel contra la piedra (Basque Ball) and Caótica Ana (Chaotic Ana). Initial chapters explore Medem's childhood, adolescence and education, and examine his earliest short films and critical writings against a background of a dramatically changing Spain. Later chapters provide accounts of the genesis, production and release of Medem's challenging and sensual films, which feed into analyses of their meanings, both political and personal, in which the author draws on traditions and innovations in Basque art, Spanish cinema and European philosophy to create a portrait of the director and his work.

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Rob Stone

assistant Silvia Gómez, for one, was convinced that his next project would be ‘a comedy called Caótica Ana , although he doesn’t know it yet’ [7]. 208 Julio Medem Later, Medem explained that Caótica Ana was a film about reincarnation in which the eponymous Ana was based on his real-life sister, who had also been the inspiration for Ana in Los amantes del Círculo Polar and, following her death, for Lucía in Lucía y el sexo too: Wherever she goes, Ana disorganises what’s organised. She disorders order but is completely unaware. She’s the type of person who leaves a wake

in Julio Medem
Rob Stone

reflects his experience of making La pelota vasca and his temporary reversal of the ‘process of separation and distancing’ (Santaolalla 1998: 333) that occurred during the writing of this book. But with Aitor shelved – ‘Aitor demands distance from La pelota vasca and all that surrounded it’ [4] – Medem subsequently returned to this process of separation and distancing with Caótica Ana (Chaotic Ana, 2007), ‘a kind of farce’ [4] about a young painter and believer in reincarnation, who pursues her vocation in Ibiza before returning to Madrid under the patronage of a

in Julio Medem
Barry Jordan

), 68–70. 8 Rafael Ruiz and Gregorio Belinchón, ‘20 personajes para 20 años de Goyas’, El País Semanal , no. 1531 (29 January 2006), 47. 9 With regard to Medem, it is worth pointing out that Caótica Ana (2007) was something of a watershed in his career. Apart from

in Alejandro Amenábar
Silence, historical memory and metaphor
Maria M. Delgado

’s Barcelona (un mapa)/Barcelona (A Map) (2007). Unflinching assessments of nationalist atrocities and abuses refracted through horror – Pan’s Labyrinth – and drama – Pà negre/Black Bread (2010) – have also been accompanied by tales of hidden traumas unearthed through the mundane and the worldly – Jordi Cadena and Judith Colell’s Elisa K (2010) – as well as the other-worldly – Julio Medem’s Caótica Ana

in Spanish cinema 1973–2010
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La ardilla roja (1993)
Rob Stone

casting stars, even when it countermanded the wishes of his backers, suggests an indication of the autonomy that he identified as an essential factor in developing his auteurism, for his use of unknowns ensured greater creative control. Gómez, it should be remembered, had only played bit parts in films prior to Vacas and Suárez was a jobbing actress, while actors such as Fele Martínez, Najwa Nimri and Tristán Ulloa were only slightly better known than complete novices such as Novo in La ardilla roja, Silke in Tierra, Paz Vega in Lucía y el sexo and Bebe in Caótica Ana

in Julio Medem
Tierra (1996)
Rob Stone

Vacas, Tierra, Los amantes del Círculo Polar, Lucía y el sexo and Caótica Ana. The universe traversed by Ángel is not ordered and therefore not that of any Christian God. As in El espíritu de la colmena (1973), directed by Víctor Erice, which includes teasing allusions to Christian iconography and the Christ-like appearances and capabilities of strangers in a strange land such as the maqui befriended by the infant Ana, Ángel’s Christ-like qualities should be appreciated for their juxtaposition with his actual nature. Further discredit to any Christian interpretation

in Julio Medem
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Los amantes del Círculo Polar (1998)
Rob Stone

amantes del Círculo Polar, and their daughter Alicia, who incidentally has Down’s Syndrome and inspired the name of her father’s production company, Alicia Produce. Medem’s second daughter was born to Montse Sanz in 2003 and named Ana after Medem’s sister, who died during the filming of Lucía y el sexo and inspired both the Ana of Los amantes del Círculo Polar and the protagonist of Caótica Ana . Medem says of his sister and her namesakes that they ‘exist in this world but belong to another’ [5]. Key to her representation in Los amantes del Círculo Polar was the casting

in Julio Medem